The Prisoner Workout

Categories Lifestyle

You don’t need a gym full of hi-tech equipment in order to get a workout in…

Whether you’re stuck in a hotel room, a studio apartment, a desert island bereft of any gym equipment, or a prison cell — whatever your personal circumstances, lack of space is no excuse for not working out when you’ve got these bodyweight exercises up your sleeve. Combine strength and cardio in one high-intensity workout by belting out these six exercises the next time you’re on the road (or in the clink — no judgement).


A basic, classic, and effective exercise focused on the chest and arms, including plenty of subtle modifications to blast different muscle groups. Wide hand placement strengthens the pectorals while keeping your mitts closer together works out your triceps — or only use one hand if you’re really going for that tough guy, ‘king of the prison’ vibe.



This move can be done with a pull-up bar fastened to a door, monkey bars at the park, or basically anything else you can grab onto to sculpt the upper back and build that masculine tapered V-shaped torso. Chin-ups will tone your biceps, in particular.



Hanging leg raises

Grab that same tree branch or door frame to blast your core, as well as your forearms and quads. Keep your legs straight and raise them to the level of your hips, or bend your knees if your body’s not quite ready to match it with Bubba and the rest of the big boys in the yard.



Okay, we lied, this exercise does require a little bit of equipment — the edge of a bed or a chair to prop yourself up with before lowering your body for a great core workout.



Bodyweight squats are nicknamed prisoner squats for their popularity with the incarcerated population who churn out reps by the hundreds and thousands. Squats get the heart pumping and strengthen the upper legs — hold weights to focus on strength or jump at the end of each rep to ramp up the cardio.



There’s barely a muscle in your body that doesn’t feel a burpee — begin with a squat, then drop down to the push-up position, return to the squat, and jump in the air. Add some intensity by adding a push-up to each rep.

burpees For that authentic prison routine, bust out the ‘Deck of Pain’ — shuffle your 52 cards, attribute an exercise to each suit (clubs are push-ups, hearts are burpees, etc.), and perform the number of reps displayed on the card, with face cards worth 10. Complete the deck in 15 minutes and you’ll truly be the big dog of the prison yard.